Ages: 14 – 17
Campers in the Jewish Agency summer camp in Khabarovsk delved deeply into the world of Jewish values, both Jewish and universal ones. Each day of camp was devoted to a different set of values and the campers were encouraged to ask questions and share their opinions with about the values they learned about.
The daily program reflected the core values studied during the camp:
Day 1: What are values and why are they important for mankind and what role do they play in the Jewish tradition?
Day 2: Knowledge and Education: Why is it necessary to pursue knowledge and an education?
Day 3: Tolerance and Respect: Why are these values essential?
Day 4: Memory: What is its function? What purpose does it serve on an individual and collective basis? How do the Jewish people remember certain events in Jewish history? How is the Holocaust remembered by Jews around the world?
Day 5: Shabbat and Faith: What is meaning of Shabbat and what role does it play in our lives? What is faith and what role does that play in life? What are some of the Shabbat customs and where do they originate from?
Day 6: Love and Friendship: What is love and how should this concept be understood? What is the difference between love and falling in love? What does the Jewish tradition say about love and friendship?
Day 7: Freedom and Responsibility: What does freedom mean? What does freedom mean to the Jewish people? What does it mean to be the Chosen people? What responsibilities are incumbent upon us at the Chosen People?
The focus of the camp was on universal and Jewish values but there
was also time for arts and crafts.
One of the highlights of the camp was Kaballat Shabbat (Hebrew for the ceremony that ushers in the Sabbath) which was prepared by the campers. The campers lit candles, lead prayers and performed a short play based on a famous midrash (Hebrew for Biblical teachings). There was plenty of dancing and singing. Small gifts were distributed to everyone.
All the campers and staff concluded that the Kaballat Shabbat was
the best and most special that they had ever participated in.
Kaballat Shabbat at camp. The campers lit candles, lead prayers and
performed a short play based on a famous midrash.
Interviews with the campers:
"My name is Semen Shteinberg and I am 16 years old from Khabarovsk, Russia. This was my first camp. My grandmother attends all the Jewish holidays at the Jewish Agency in Khabarovsk and she told my brother and I about the summer camp.
I learned many new things that I didn't know before about Judaism. Now, I feel that I am involved in something much wider and stronger than just our local community. I feel a similarity and solidarity with all Jews. I feel like I'm really part of them. We live in different countries and speak different languages but we have a common history and faith.
I'm planning to attend this camp next summer and then become a counselor. I also want to take part in the youth club in our city. I hope to visit Israel one day and maybe even live there."
Semen Shteinberg: "I liked the summer camp and met many new friends. I never thought
that I'd meet so many Jewish youngsters who come from Khabarovsk."
"Hi, I'm Alexandra Waisband and I am 17 years old from Khabarovsk. Two years ago, a friend of mine invited me to come to the Jewish Agency youth club in Khabarovsk. From that moment on, I have been an active member of the youth club and have participated two summer camps.
I liked everything about the camp. I think that in the modern age, it is very important for Jewish youngsters to feel Jewish and know about our history and traditions. Israel is our homeland and should be in our hearts. My dream is to return to camp next year as a counselor and share my feelings, thoughts, and knowledge with the others."
Alexandra Waisband: "Most of all, I liked that at camp I could express myself freely
and express my opinion."
August 1 -16th / Av-Elul 5770